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Redshirt Report: Complete confidence in Turner and Savage to develop Lee

March 29, 2021
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During the beginning weeks of the off-season, Inside the Gators will take an in-depth look at how last season went for Florida's 2020 signees and transfers. Normally, the focus is on those who redshirted, but since the NCAA mandated that the 2020 season was 'uncounted' as far as eligibility is concerned, essentially every player redshirted.

Today the Redshirt Report series focuses on the freshman season of defensive tackle Jalen Lee.

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Florida freshman defensive tackle Jalen Lee is one of the chosen few. He is a Louisiana native who decided to spurn the home-state LSU Tigers in order to sign with another Southeastern Conference member school.

For the 2020 season, the Gators had several veteran defensive tackles on the roster - led by Tedarrell Slaton and Kyree Campbell - making it much more difficult for young tackles such as Lee, Lamar Goods, and Jaelin Humphries to see serious playing time along the defensive line.

That meant that Lee had to adjust to sitting, watching, and waiting, according to his high school trainer, George Tucker.

Lee understands the need to make an immediate impact when he does see the field.

“You don't get to warm up in college when you are a backup,” explained Tucker. “You have to get up and make a play right then. He had to become familiar with the mindset that it’s not about how many plays you play; it's about how many plays you make.”

Lee appeared in five games this past season, tallying two tackles. His best game came against Missouri, where he was credited with a sack and a forced fumble.

Lee really didn’t know what to expect entering his first year as a Gator. He is truly young, development-wise, not just in age, according to Tucker. “He is going to be his best at 21,” Tucker said. Lee needs to learn more than just the speed of the game; he needs to learn the size and strength of the game as well, Tucker said.

After working with Tucker during his high school days, his development now lies in the hands of Florida defensive line coach David Turner.

Tucker said that Lee raves about the knowledge and skillset he has acquired under Turner’s direction. He now understands the importance of having violent hands, rather than just quick hands, and to step with power, rather than just quickness, Tucker said that Lee has total trust in Turner’s ability to develop him to reach his potential.

“His knowledge of the game and commitment to get the most out of him, and his openness about what he’s disappointed about. Some coaches will wait until you don’t perform and just let you know they are disappointed, rather than letting you know that you better perform, so you don’t disappoint,” Tucker said of Turner’s approach to coaching.

Tucker wants to see Lee play stronger, understanding that while he is naturally quick and deceptively agile, that is only half the battle.

“That only gets you to the spot; it doesn’t let you maintain the spot once you get there,” Tucker said. He wants him to assert himself physically, not just using his athleticism and technique. Lee does a good job playing with leverage, but he has to get strong enough to ensure the outcome, rather than ensuring there won’t be a negative one, Tucker said.

Lee is working on his aggression with coach Turner, but he’s also working in the weight room with strength and conditioning coach, Nick Savage, according to Tucker. “I'm a weight room guy, and Savage is on my man-crush list,” Tucker said.

Lee entered UF weighing around 315-pounds, according to Tucker. His objective is to report between 285 and low 290s come August. According to UF, Lee weighed in at 313 pounds before spring ball, just two pounds less than his 2020 weigh-in. Tucker has confidence in coach Savage to get him to his optimal playing weight.

With Lee earning more reps in spring practice, Tucker is confident that with the right coaching and weight training, Lee will be in for a more productive season.“ There’s no doubt in my mind that between coach Savage in the weight room and coach Turner in practice, his Saturdays are going to get exceptionally better as he matures,” Tucker said.

Tucker says that Lee’s goals are to become a major contributor for the 2021 Florida Gators.

Redshirt Report: Complete confidence in Turner and Savage to develop Lee

2,560 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 24 days ago by Titletown
outofsight
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I don't think it's going to happen this year, but I'm looking to 2022 when Dexter, Lee, Watson and Thomas and those guys are ready to take over and dominate as the year we're going get back to the way it used to be.

Turner has turned around on the defensive line.

I don't have faith Hevesy can do the same.
Titletown
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I admit I have a man crush on Savage since he got here. No matter what happens with any of the other coaches including Mullen I hope we can lock him in with a long term contract.
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